The iris that thrives on sun and poverty…

This is the Iris for me. Iris unguicularis. Tough, obliging, very pretty and the only thing braving the snow today and deciding to flower.  This is the story of a ‘hit’ and a ‘miss’. I was moving some kniphofia last October, and I though that this was a baby kniphofia, odd that there weren’t any flower remnants, but well..Today I found out what it was.  All the books tell you NOT to move them, apparently they hate it. But, and this might be the upside of the mistake, late autumn is a window for moving, if you have to. So that probably saved the bacon.  As you can see from my picture, it is blooming in the snow.  My ground is pretty free-draining and that is also good for it.  It’s used to tough, hot Greek hillsides, so no pampering.

Iris unguicularis Tostat Feb 15
Iris unguicularis Tostat Feb 15

On the ‘hit’ side of things, it is really pretty and I would have missed it as it had chosen to tuck itself away at the back of this not very inspiring clump of leaves, but I was looking for something else, and there it was. I consider that a ‘hit’.  Vita Sackville West was very partial to what she called the Algerian Iris, and wrote a piece for ‘The Guardian’ about it, and Noel Kingsbury, another great garden writer that I enjoy, also has a soft spot for it- his picture looks more like mine, unlike Vita’s more exotic looking one. Come to think of it, I think that I got this in a job lot of bulbs once, so I really have put no effort into it. What a result.

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